Back to Top
PolkaDotBride - Australia's number 1 Bridal Blog, Wedding Directory and Advice for Brides
Log In Register

Crowning Glory – The History Behind the Wedding Crown

by | Bride, Multicultural Weddings


Note from Ms Polka Dot : If you’ve been reading Polka Dot Bride for awhile, you’ll know I rarely, if ever take guest posts. Today though, I want to introduce you to the newest Polka Dot Bride team member Ms Gingham. Ms Gingham is our new content manager and is working with all of our wonderful contributors and editing posts for our specialty titles. So you can find her in the footer of each entry on Polka Dot Groom, Polka Dot Wisdom, Polka Dot Made, Polka Dot Weddings,  and Polka Dot Honeymoons. (pssh If you’d like to register to be a contributor simply click here and she’ll send you more information)

Ms Gingham is the sassiest lady you will meet and always has us bursting into giggles with her commentary. She’s also had us jealous of the wonderful traditions of her Greek heritage (it is now on my bucket list to get Ms Gingham to teach me how to Zorba dance and make the best saganaki in the world..two of my favourite things) and thus suggested & written the first in what will be a long series of posts on multicultural weddings.  Help us give her a wonderfully warm welcome!

Photo from Athena and Dariusz’s Wedding by Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions

If you are of the Greek Orthodox faith, then a wedding ceremony is a whole different ball game to, say, a civil ceremony in the park. The priest will be chanting a lot, he’ll give you some wine to drink (hooray!) and he’ll put some “crowns” on your heads and make you walk around a table. At the end of the ceremony the result is still the same … you are married. But have you ever wondered what significance the crowns have in the ceremony? I know I have, so here it is.

As with many of the church’s ceremonies, the traditions and rituals in a Greek Orthodox wedding service have followed us from Ancient times. The crowns that are used today in the modern Greek Orthodox wedding service originate in Ancient Greece and have been carried through by the Greek Orthodox church.

A little history … In ancient Greece, the bride would leave her parent’s home in a horse or oxen drawn carriage. She would sit between the groom and the best man (the best man drove the carriage), as they made their way to the groom’s residence. The bride was dressed in her finest and she had spent the morning indulging in a bathing ritual. In addition to this, the couple wore crowns made from various plants devoted to Aphrodite such as olive branches, vines leaves and lemon blossoms. In other parts of Greece, the crowns were made from Asparagus. The ancient Greeks who followed this custom believed that as Asparagus is grown out of thorns and hard dirt, thus the union of the two will create beauty and fertility.

There were no photographers in Ancient Greece! The famous Francois Vase depicts an ancient wedding procession.

There was a bridal procession which accompanied the bridal party and all those involved wore the same crowns. The air was celebratory and jubilant. The whole bridal procession wore white to symbolize purity. Not so much the purity of the body but that of their relationship. Later on, with the arrival of Christianity did the wearing of white come to symbolize virginity. Interestingly, in Ancient Greece, a woman was married at around fifteen whereas a man was around thirty as this was the age that he would have completed his military service. To think that in these days you could be thrown in jail for this!

In the Byzantine (9th – 13th century), the crowns became symbols of royalty. The ceremony of marriage became a coronation service and so the tradition stands today.

Byzantine wedding crowns. Image from the Byzantine Museum

Today the crowns are often made of silver or gold. They are a sign of the bond between the Bride and Groom and represent the glory and honour which God bestows upon the couple who have observed His Commandments. The couple is crowned as King and Queen of their new family and ordered to rule with justice and integrity. The priest places the crowns (which are tied together by a long ribbon) on the heads of the bride and groom and the “koumbaro” or best man exchanges the crowns three times.

Modern Greek wedding “stefana” (crowns). Crowns by Lena Septembri

Another significant moment in the Greek Wedding Ceremony is the removal of the crowns. In the past, the bride and groom were required to wear their crowns for a full week after the ceremony and then return for the removal in a different ceremony. That could prove to be interesting on the honeymoon … thankfully we are not required to do this in Modern ceremonies!

Photo from Athena and Dariusz’s Wedding by Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions

The Greek Orthodox faith is rich in rituals, customs and ceremonies which brings a very different feel and essence to the wedding ceremony. So there you have it! A brief history of the significance of the Crown in the Greek Orthodox wedding service. So next time you’re invited to a Greek wedding, you can astound the little old ladies at the wedding with your knowledge of their culture. Maybe they’ll make you some baklava in return!

References: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia

Visit Ms Polka Dot's Directory

The Langham Hotel, Melbourne

by | Australia - Victoria, Bride, Wedding Venues


We’re going to kick off a new series of   profiles on Polka Dot Bride and I’d love it if you’d let me know where you’re marrying so we can profile some of our reader’s venues too! The Langham Hotel is one of Melbourne’s five star hotels (and one of my favourites) and has just launched their Ultimate Enchanted Wedding Package along with a range of Princess Packages. With the marble foyer and glittering chandeliers, it’s a decadent but convenient choice for a wedding.

The Langham Hotel is situated right on Melbourne’s Yarra River (Southbank) and offers 387 guest rooms of all shapes, sizes and budgets – so your guests can stay with you at the hotel. Upon booking a “princess package” your guests will even receive a discounted rate.

There are a number of settings available for weddings at The Langham Hotel- from the Alto room (my favourite, located on the 25th floor of the hotel with 180 degree views of the city and private balcony) to the huge Clarendon Ballroom (which is the largest space catering to 230 people) and the Yarra rooms. Each of the newly released “Princess Packages” contains the little touches the Langham is known for. From a  traditional afternoon high tea (“Happily Ever After”) with fluffy scones and ribbon sandwiches,  to a cocktail soiree (“Once Upon A Time”) with canape style dishes, roving desserts and even a chocolate fountain to the “Dreams Come True” package – the traditional pre dinner canapes, 3 course sit down meal and beautiful styling package.

Each package includes an overnight stay in the hotel (those pillows are some of my favourite in the world, so worth it!). For a couple who might want to go all out, the Ultimate Enchanted Wedding package includes absolutely everything you could need for your wedding day – from a range of wedding jewellery from Hardy Bros, a Jason Grech wedding gown, flowers, a bridal shower, a wedding cake, photography and videography, stationery, pre wedding pampering at the Chuan Spa and even Peter Alexander pyjamas (on top of a wedding ceremony for 200 guests followed by a reception in the Clarendon ballroom for 200 guests with a five course dinner). The newlyweds will be whisked to their presidential suite following their celebrations  and return on their one year anniversary.

If a fairytale package doesn’t take your fancy, The Langham will work with you to create a package that suits you, your budget and your guests, allowing you to celebrate in luxury.

Clarendon Ballroom

Alto Room

View from Alto Room

Images courtesy of The Langham Hotel

Emma and Andy’s Relaxed Western Australia Wedding

by | Australia - Western Australia, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Emma and Andy

Western Australia is a pretty special place – from amazing wine, to fantastic photographers, beautiful wildflowers and stunning landscapes. Our couple today wanted to honour their favourite region and gave their guests a “taste of Western Australia”. If your guests are traveling from far away, there is nothing nicer than giving them the best of where you live.

Emma recalls how she came to meet her husband. “Andy and I knew of each other through work while both serving in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in Richmond, Sydney. We first kissed on Anzac Day 2003 at the Orient Hotel in Sydney. I saw Andy leaving the pub and decided to go out the other exit so I could get around to the where he was leaving before he came out. The next day Andy left to go on an overseas deployment for 6 months. During that time we spent the time getting to know each other via email. We met up once in those 6 months for a short holiday in Airlie Beach, north QLD. At the end of the 6 months we had a short time together before I moved to Brisbane on posting and Andy returned to Perth. We continued our relationship over the distance for 14 months before I took extended leave from the RAAF to move to Perth. 6 months later we bought our first house together, I resigned from the RAAF we’ve been building a life together since then!”

Photographs today are by Melbourne photographer Samm Blake. Samm almost has a touch of magic about her photographs – they sink into the deep emotion of the day while still managing to capture the details, the moments and the thought that the couple put so much effort into. I love the thought she puts into each photograph.

Emma and Andy hired CD Weddings to coordinate their wedding day. “I knew from the start that our wedding would have loads of small details. We also were steering away from a traditional wedding venue plus our wedding was completely outdoors so if a plan B was needed, we definitely needed a wedding coordinator! Cathrin did a great job in the lead up to the wedding confirming all my suppliers and of course was a godsend on the day setting everything up, which meant I had a completely relaxing morning leading up to the ceremony.”

Emma wore a white ruffled gown with yellow ribbon designed by Hilde Heim. “Andy and I were living in Brisbane while planning our wedding so I had my dress made by Hilde. I had an idea of what I didn’t want and how I wanted to feel in the dress and Hilde very patiently created my beautiful custom dress for me.”

The yellow and white theme started with the stationery, designed by Monique Barker. Emma recalls “Monique Barker is a friend of mine who does some work for my small business. She has a great style that was perfect for our stationery on the day. I think the stationery says a lot about your wedding. It’s the first thing people see to give them a feel for what the day is going to be like and all the little extras pulled off the details of our wedding together. ”

Emma wore shoes from Cinderella Bella and earrings from Samantha Wills.

The florals were designed by Flowers In The Garden. Emma explains “On a recommendation from a friend I contacted Annita from Flowers in the Garden. I was so pleased with the natural, ‘just picked’ look that she created for us.”

Emma and Andy hired The China Blue Experiment for their music. Emma says the music was “Awesome! We had an acoustic guitar and bongos playing before and during the ceremony. The guys also played a couple of acoustic sets early in the night and then the rest of the band arrived to kick on the party. The guys were really flexible, were able to learn any song I asked for and together with their manager, did a really professional job on the night. “

Andy’s sister made wooden directional signs for the day (wine tasting, pic up sticks, dance floor, celebration, photo booth etc).

The couple held their ceremony and reception at Woodbridge House. Emma explains “We had our ceremony and reception at the historic Woodbridge House which is just behind the Guildford Grammar School. We had our ceremony on the grass at the back of the house with the Swan River in the background. Following the ceremony the guests stayed in the ceremony location where we served canapés and had a wine tasting from a local Swan Valley winery. We also had giant pick up sticks for the guests to play while we went off to have our photos taken.”

Emma recalls one of her favourite moments. “One of the funniest and special moments on the day was when my Dad gave me away. He was very proud and nervous on the day to be walking his only daughter down the aisle. We’d written a few words for him to say when asked to give me away. The nerves got the best of him and he said I do before the celebrant had even used him to give me away! The funny moment really relaxed everyone.”

The celebrant made the ceremony as poignant as the couple wanted it. Emma recalls “Our celebrant – Tysoe Richmond Cooper – did a beautiful job in helping us to create a ceremony that was really reflective of the relationship we have.”

There was a special family member who Emma and Andy were not going to marry without. Emma explains “Suzie, the owner of the café was really flexible and we really had no restrictions. So many wedding venues that we looked at had noise restrictions, drink cut off timings, menus that couldn’t be altered and the biggie for us was – no dogs allowed. There was no way we weren’t going to have our beloved Lab Noogie with us on the day. The venue we had was extremely flexible, ticked all our boxes and allowed us to make the day uniquely our own.”

It was straight into the fun stuff after Emma and Andy were pronounced married. Emma recalls “Straight after the ceremony we served home made lemonade with Andy heart Emma straws.”

The reception was divided into a few fun areas to reflect the theme and atmosphere Emma and Andy wanted to create. Emma explains “Our theme for the wedding was a taste of WA. The house is a historic house in WA and we thought the location, bordered by the Swan River and the Swan Valley was very Perth. We made a wine tasting list and a drinks list that’s detailed what WA beer/wine was being served, the description and what region in WA it was from.”

The little touches were even included. Emma tells “We provided thongs for all the guests so they could kick off their shoes in relax. Everyone was already in them by the time we got back from the photos. One of the best investments we made!” The flowers and candles were placed in glass jars that the newlyweds and their families had collected over many months.

Each guest took hold a jar of Western Australian preserves.

The bride and groom handmade name buttons for each guest. Emma pinned hers to her bouquet.

Emma and Andy had a special moment together after the ceremony. Emma explains “After the ceremony and family photos Andy and I left to have photos taken together. Before we really got into it we sat down together for half an hour to have a picnic and share a bottle of champagne. It was so special to take a moment together to re-live the ceremony and how we were feeling before we dove back into the madness of the reception. The day/night goes so quickly and there are so many people to catch up with, it’s hard to get a quiet moment to yourselves. This was a great suggestion from our photographer and I’d highly recommend it!”

The reception was held at the cafe on the house grounds; Riverside @ Woodbridge. Emma says “We wanted to have a reception under the stars where we could string lanterns to the trees and this place fit the bill perfectly. We removed all the tables from the café to create our dance floor and set up our own tables under the stars on the grassed area just outside. It was a nerve wracking time leading up the wedding because our whole wedding was dependent on the weather. We had reserved a marquee but really won’t keen on having one so made a decision a few days out not to go ahead. Perth really turned on the weather for us that day and it was a full moon so the night was perfect!”

The special touches even came through to the guest book which was set up next to a cigar box, inviting guests to take one “For our guest book we had small cards and a recipe box. We asked guests to write their recipe for love, a small note or best wishes for the bride and groom.”

The “taste Of Western Australia” theme that ran throughout the day was important to Emma and Andy. Emma explains ” A lot of our guests were traveling to WA for the first time or were only traveling for the weekend so we wanted to give them a taste of WA that they probably wouldn’t have time to experience during their visit. This included:

  • Wine tasting from a local Swan Valley Winery
  • A cheese board with cheeses from regions all over state
  • The bonbonniere was a jar of Chilli Relish was the south west of WA
  • All the drinks served were from WA with descriptions of the producer, region etc provided for the guests
  • WA produce was used wherever possible by the caterer including mini fish and chips wrapped in the West Australian newspaper at the end of the night.”

Emma and Andy had a buffet of delicious cakes (Cake Stacks (now closed) and cheeses complete with handmade signs.

The speeches were one of Emma’s favourite parts of the day. She explains “We had three speeches on the day – one from Andy’s sister to represent his family, my dad and the groom. All the speeches were so heartfelt and full of funny stories that even those who weren’t there at the time could have a laugh at. As a baby Andy is well remembered by his family as always wearing a blue baby bonnet. Andy’s sister found the bonnet and had an adult sized replica which Andy obligingly wore during his speech.”

Throwing out tradition, Emma remarks “We decided not to do a first dance. We wanted to keep the formalities to a minimum and once the speeches were over we wanted the night just to flow uninterrupted like a big party! We were both so pleased that at the end of the night we were able to look back and see that the day was a perfect reflection of us. Plenty of good food and wine/beer, and a relaxed party atmosphere.”

Emma and Andy were thrilled with their photographer, who also provided a photobooth ” It was loads of fun, and a great keepsake for us. When we shared our photos with family and friends we were overwhelmed by emails about tears and laughter looking at the photos. A real tribute to how Samm really captured the moment.”

Above anything else, it was the guests who made the day what it was for Emma and Andy. “The guests! About 60% of our guests travelled from all over the country to share our day. Everyone relaxed and enjoyed the spirit of the day. We also had a casual lunch at local pub the next day which was a great opportunity to catch up with people we didn’t get to speak to on the day (it goes so fast!) We’d also recently moved to Malaysia for Andy’s work so it was a great opportunity to catch up with people we hadn’t seen in awhile. “

Congratulations Emma and Andy! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to by Samm Blake for sharing today’s photographs!

Photos  by Samm Blake

Mel and Matt’s Sydney Celebration

by | Australia - New South Wales, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Mel and Matt

With so many couple’s today with family all over the world, I thought it might be nice to feature a “second celebration” which is always a wonderful idea if you have family and friends in two places so far away. Mel & Matt married in Canada, but traveled back to Sydney for a second reception to celebrate with family and friends. They chose to do it at one of Sydney’s most breathtaking landmarks.

Of how the couple came to be, Mel recalls “Australian girl meets Canadian boy – it happened on my first day of work at a law firm in Canada in March 2006. The real story is the proposal – Matt organised a a trip to Paris – a romantic champagne picnic by the Eiffel tower and a private box at the ballet.”

Photos today are by Sarah Braden Photography. I love how Sarah captured Mel and Matt’s “must have” shots and the backdrop of the harbour . There’s so much sparkle to Mel and Matt’s eyes that Sarah’s managed to bring into each shot!

Mel says “It made me immensely happy to celebrate with my family and friends and to introduce my new Canadian family to them all. In particular having the opportunity to include my grandmother in family photographs was important to me.”

Of their Opera House celebration, Mel explains the venue choice.  “We were married at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada on October 2, 2010. Unfortunately due to logistics (and newly born babies!) a large number of my friends and family were not able to attend the wedding in Toronto. We decided we wanted a second celebration in my hometown of Sydney, Australia. Matt’s family travelled from Canada to visit Australia for the first time and to meet my extended family, consequently, we wanted a venue that really showed Sydney at its most beautiful. For us the choice was obvious – Guillaume at Bennelong – we had the ocean, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and the beautiful Australian sunset. The cocktail reception was held on the evening January 22, 2011 and after weeks of rain we had a wonderfully sunny day.”

Mel wore a gown from Carla Zampatti with shoes from Peep Toe Shoes. She says “Given that the Australian celebration was to be in the middle of summer, I decided not to wear my wedding dress and to buy wear a dress a little more suited to a cocktail function. However, I wore the custom made hairpiece that I also wore on our the wedding day and the pearl earrings Matt had given me as a wedding present.

I had scoured the Canadian stores for a dress that was appropriate for the Australia celebration but had not been able to find anything. My sister had seen a Carla Zampatti dress that she thought I would like. She sent me a picture and I loved the dress immediately. My sister bought the dress and shipped it to me in Canada. Thankfully when it arrived it fit AND I loved it as much as I loved the picture on the website.

I had broken my baby toe in the first week we arrived in Australia, as a result, my Peep Toe stilettos were enormously painful to walk around in! In between photographs I was walking around in thongs!”

The couple found their second wedding to be much more relaxed. Mel remarks “Given this was our “second celebration” the pressure was off, Matt and I were relaxed and enjoyed the entire evening without needing to worry about formalities.”

Mel says “Guillaume at Bennelong showcased Sydney Harbour beautifully – it reminded my why I will always consider Australia my home. The canapés and cocktails were delicious!”

Mel recalls “We wanted the celebration to be relaxed and fun – an opportunity to share our newly married joy with my extended family and friends. The evening was a great mix of good food, delicious drinks, Australians and Canadians and we couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Congratulations on your marriage Mel and Matt! Thank you for allowing us to share your second wedding day on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Sarah of Sarah Braden Photography for allowing us to share today’s images!

Photos by Sarah Braden Photography

Back to Top